California lawmakers propose elimination of Prop. 187

California lawmakers propose elimination of Prop. 187
State Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) speaks to the California Democratic State Party Convention in Los Angeles on March 9. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

A group of state lawmakers said Wednesday they have drafted legislation that would repeal key provisions of Proposition 187, the ballot measure approved by voters 20 years ago that sought to withhold many public services from immigrants in the country illegally.

The federal courts overturned almost all provisions of the ballot measure as unconstitutional and it was never enforced, but it remains in on the books, according to Sen. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles), the primary author of the repeal bill.

"Today we remember the xenophobic sentiments that spurred Proposition 187, and we announce Senate Bill 396 to erase its stain from our law books," De Leon said. "California will lead the country forward to a brighter day where immigrants are treated with dignity and given an opportunity to thrive."

Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), chairman of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, also backed the bill, calling Proposition 187 “mean-spirited and divisive.”

Assemblyman Paul Fong (D-Cupertino) went further.

"Proposition 187 was a racist and unjust law," said Fong, chairman of the Asian and Pacific Islander California Legislative Caucus.